SPORTING NEWS TODAY
THURSDAY, JUNE 04, 2009
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Buck’s wit gets starring role in new HBO show
EuropeanPGA Tour, WalesOpen, first round, atNewport, Wales
Nationwide Tour, PrinceGeorge’s CountyOpen, first round, atMitchellville, Md.
PGA Tour, The Memorial Tournament, firstround, at Dublin,Ohio
Torontoat Washington(same-day tape)
Playoffs,finals, Game 1,Orlando at L.A.Lakers
Playoffs,Stanley Cup finals,Game 4, Detroit atPittsburgh
MLS, NewYork at D.C. United
FrenchOpen, women’ssemifinals, at Paris
Magic at Lakers
9 p.m., ABC
Network execs get their Kobe-LeBron matchup … in commercial breaks, whenthe pair’s “Most Valuable Puppet” ads run. On the court, the Magic are, again, theunderdog against a team they dominated in the regular season. Dwight Howardand the gang won both games they played against the Lakers in 2008-09 andaveraged 107.5 points in the process. That may not seem like much, but the Magichad similar success against Cleveland and found a way to translate the regularseason to the postseason.
Red Wings at Penguins
8 p.m., Versus
“This series is where it should be,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said after thePenguins’ 4-2 win in Game 3. He’d know—so far, the finals have followed the sametemplate as last year, when Detroit dropped Game 3 but went on to win the Cup insix games. Tonight is a chance for the Penguins to build their momentum at home,send the series back to Detroit 2-2. Detroit, meanwhile, hopes to have MVP finalistPavel Datsyuk back in the lineup after he missed the first three games.
The Memorial Tournament
1 p.m., The Golf Channel
Tiger Woods has won Jack Nicklaus’ tournament at Muirfield Village three times. That’snot surprising. The other three-time champ in the field, though, is someone you may notexpect—Kenny Perry. The 48-year-old, 15-time Tour winner took home first place in 1991,2003 and last year. On Wednesday, the battle for a fourth win kicked off early—Woodsburned Perry on the final hole of the Skins Game with a 12-foot putt.
— Compiled by Sean Gentille
BY JOHN OURAND
Viewers accustomed to
on HBOprobably won’t recognize its replacement,
Joe Buck Live
, when it launches June 15.In fact, viewers also probably will find it diffi-cult to recognize the show’s host, Joe Buck, bestknown as Fox’s top play-by-play man on MajorLeague Baseball and the NFL. That’s becauseBuck will step out of character for a show thatwill be equal parts comedy and interviews.“The hidden secret of Joe Buck, for those of uswho have been around him and seen him per-form at the Sports Emmys every year, is that hehas a very dry and unique wit,” HBO Sportspresident Ross Greenburg said. “That is some-thing that the American public hasn’t seen yet.They’ll be surprised and amused.”The one-hour show, taping four times a year,will be heavy on comedy. HBO has hired twowriters and already shot some skits for its firsteffort.Buck’s sense of humor first attracted Greenburgto giving him a shot to replace Bob Costas, whogave up his critically acclaimed HBO show for anon-air role at MLB Network. To help draw out thatwit, Greenburg has hired Peter Mehlman, whowas executive producer of
, and Jon Glaser,the creator and star of
, a live-action com-edy on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim.“I’m not always going to lean toward thefunny,” Buck said. “But I think I can at timesentertain and at times amuse. I’m not going toshy away from that. My No. 1 priority is going to be, ‘How good was the interview and what didwe learn from it?’ ”Filming live in front of a studio audience sprin-kled with celebrities, HBO plans to showcaseBuck by having him interact with the audience.Like
, each of Buck’s shows will have atheme. The first looks at the intersection of celeb-rity and sports, which will lead to several come-dic bits.The first show will include a skit with WillFerrell’s “Funny or Die” web site that will run before a panel discussion. The skit will go behindthe scenes at HBO sister company TMZ topresent a mock version of how the gossip sitedevelops its sports-related stories.“It will be tongue-in-cheek, with cameosfrom athletes mocking the entire way itunfolds,” Greenburg said. “It’s hard todescribe, but it adds a lot of humor. Thencoming out of that piece, we’re going to tryand line up some real comedic talent.”The first show will conclude with ataped package called “I Refuse to Hyper-ventilate” that will be Buck’s unique take oncertain sports stories.The show also will be heavy on inter-views, with HBO hoping tomake headlines from someof the answers Buck elicitsfrom guests.Three weeks beforelaunch, producers werefinalizing the debut show’sguest lineup.Buck said his wish listincludes athletes, such asBrett Favre and Alex Rodri-guez, league executivessuch as Roger Goodell andBud Selig, and actors suchas Alec Baldwin and SethRogen.Buck said he doesn’tpattern his interviewingstyle after anyone in par-ticular, but he admiresthe way David Lettermanconducts interviews.“He’s the best becausehe actually listens,” Bucksaid. “He’s not worriedabout one-upping what yousay. He wants you to tell yourstory.“That’s the kind of feel I want toget. I don’t want to act like I’mMorley Safer. But I’m not goinginto it as Carrot Top. I’m some-where in the middle there.”
Joe Buck Live,
premiering June 15 on HBO,
willinclude sports-centriccomedy sketches andinterviews.
A quick look at the bestsports on TV
— all times Eastern